Gallant efforts hopefully point to much better times ahead for Old Albanian

Sam Lunnon put Old Albanian ahead at Rosslyn Park. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Sam Lunnon put Old Albanian ahead at Rosslyn Park. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian’s National One campaign for this season ended as it begun – with Rosslyn Park putting over 50 points on them.

But unlike the 58-0 loss at Woollams on the opening day, this 55-14 reverse was full of brave endeavour from a team who had their relegation confirmed last weekend.

Modern rugby, at nearly every level, is built on specifics.

It is imperative for a management team to be certain that at least a core of senior, experienced players will be able to take the field week in, week out.

This gives continuity and confidence and it is what has been denied to the Albanian outfit who have had to call on nearly 70 players throughout the season.

In these circumstances the wonder is that OAs performed as well as they did in trying times.

All of the above ignores the fact that injuries are going to occur in this most abrasive of contests and, like all other clubs in this division, A’s have come in for what seems like more than their fair share of these debilitating absences.

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Saturday’s contest, such as it was, lasted until the end of the first quarter.

Yet halfway through this period Albanians had the temerity to lead, Sam Lunnon’s muscular drive cancelling out Ali Wade’s pushover and Tom Bednall’s great conversion adding the extras.

It all started to fall apart when Alex Post was yellow carded and Charlie Hughes followed him to the bench minutes later.

It is difficult to compete when you’re two men down and by half-time the score was 36-7 with no way back for the visitors.

In an increasingly fraught second half, spirited defence limited the hosts to three tries.

Jack Daly was denied through no fault of his own but Ollie Morris added a second try after good approach work.

Morgan Thompson struck Albanians last points of the season.

Players and supporters were of one mind that the rebuilding starts now in preparation for their return to National Two South and it seems that despite the relegation pretty much the entire squad will be available for action next September.

If the players can reproduce the gallant effort od this season, then the start of the next campaign should be eagerly awaited.